Building consensus about the past

Schema consistency and convergence in socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting

Charles B. Stone, Amanda J. Barnier, John Sutton, William Hirst

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    77 Citations (Scopus)


    A large body of literature on "within-individual retrieval-induced forgetting" (WI-RIF; Anderson, Bjork, & Bjork, 1994) shows that repeatedly retrieving some items, while not retrieving other related items, facilitates later recall of the practised items, but inhibits later recall of the non-practised related items. This robust effect has recently been extended to "socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting" (SS-RIF; Cuc, Koppel, & Hirst, 2007). People who merely listen to a speaker retrieving some, but not other, items-even people participating as speakers or listeners in conversations-show the same facilitation and inhibition. We replicated and extended the SS-RIF effect with a structured story (Experiment 1) and in a free-flowing conversation about the story (Experiment 2). Specifically, we explored (1) the degree to which participants subsequently form a coherent "collective memory" of the story and (2) whether schema consistency of the target information influences both WI-RIF and SS-RIF. In both experiments, speakers and listeners showed RIF (that is, WI-RIF and SS-RIF, respectively), irrespective of the schema consistency of the story material. On final recall, speakers and listeners described similar renderings of the story. We discuss these findings in terms of the role of ";silences" in the formation of collective memories.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)170-184
    Number of pages15
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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